With over 100 works, including immersive light installations and rarely seen works on paper, the exhibition traces the artist’s six-decade-long engagement with concepts of perception and participation.
MIAMI – June 20, 2016 – On November 18, 2016, Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) will present the first U.S. museum survey of Argentine artist Julio Le Parc. On view through March 19, 2017, Julio Le Parc: Form into Action features over 100 works that spark a variety of visual and physical experiences. Including major installations and rarely seen works on paper and archival materials, the exhibition is a long-overdue exploration of Le Parc’s central role in twentieth-century art history. Julio Le Parc: Form into Action is organized by guest curator Estrellita B. Brodsky. Yamil Le Parc serves as Artistic Advisor on the project.
“Julio Le Parc’s investigations into ways of engaging and empowering the public have redefined and reinterpreted the experience of art,” says curator Estrellita B. Brodsky. “Driven by a solid utopian ethos, Le Parc continues to regard art as a social laboratory, capable of producing unpredictable situations and of playfully engaging the viewer in new ways. His radical stance has only gained relevance over the past six decades.”
Born in 1928 in Mendoza, Argentina, Le Parc moved to Paris in 1958. In 1960, he became a founding member of the artist collective Groupe de Recherche d’Art Visuel (GRAV). Emphasizing the social power of unmediated, disorienting art objects and situations, Le Parc attempted to clear out structures and systems that separate the viewer from the work. His innovations in the fields of light, movement and perception were central to the Op and Kinetic art movements of the period, while his theories of immediacy and spectatorship as a vehicle for social and political change continued to inform the Parisian avant-garde from the 1960s on.
This spirit of art as an impetus for social empowerment moves throughout Form into Action, which divides PAMM’s two largest galleries into three thematic sections. The first, From Surface to Object, gathers early works on paper and paintings to show Le Parc’s use of color as a means of destabilizing the two-dimensional surface. On display are early 1958 two-dimensional serial ink and gouache on paper studies, as well as paintings from 1959 to the present. Also on view is the monumental Long March, a suite of 10 vibrant paintings flowing around a specially designed rotunda display.
In the next section, Displacement; Contortions; Reliefs, Le Parc’s revolutionary labyrinthine installations are displayed for the first time in a U.S. institution. First shown as part of GRAV’s participation at the 1963 Paris Biennale, the sequence of three light-infused rooms offer the viewer a powerfully disorienting sensorial experience. Finally, Play & Politics of Participation dissolves the physical and ideological walls separating the viewer, the work of art and the institution. A precursor to the Relational Aesthetics movement, this period of Le Parc’s career considers how art can encourage a new awareness of one’s social space.
“Le Parc set out to ‘demystify art’ by removing barriers between the artwork and viewer,” says PAMM Director Franklin Sirmans. “It is fitting that this immersive exhibition takes place in a museum architecturally designed to blur the distinction between inside and out, where carefully placed windows allow for views of Biscayne Bay and Miami’s urban core to filter into the galleries.
Form into Action is a retrospective survey of Le Parc’s wide-ranging practice, and an examination of his impact, both on his contemporaries within the Latin American and European Post-war avant-garde, and on subsequent generations of artists. Though historic in scope, the exhibition speaks powerfully to the present moment, demanding physical and perceptual presence from the viewer. Julio Le Parc: Form into Action introduces the artist to a new generation, allowing each museum guest to react to the work in a direct, personal manner.
Julio Le Parc: Form into Action is organized by Guest Curator Estrellita B. Brodsky. It is coordinated at PAMM by Chief Curator Tobias Ostrander with the support of Curatorial Assistant Jennifer Inacio. Yamil Le Parc serves as Artistic Advisor on the project. This exhibition is presented by Citi. Additional support has been provided by Hermès of Paris, Art & Art Collection, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Lead individual support received from Patrick and Jaleh Peyton and Patricia and William Kleh. Support for the catalogue from Galeria Nara Roesler and additional support from Faena Art, Cultural Services of the French Embassy, and from the J. W. Marriott Marquis Miami is also gratefully acknowledged.
About the Artist
Born in 1928 in Mendoza, Argentina, Julio Le Parc attended the Escuela de Bella Artes in Buenos Aires in 1943. He immigrated to Paris in 1958, where he was central to the Groupe de Recherche d’Art Visuel (GRAV). Representing Argentina at the 1966 Venice Biennale, Le Parc won the Grand International Prize for Painting as an individual artist. Although GRAV dissolved in 1968, Le Parc continued to work simultaneously as an individual artist and as part of international collaboratives, particularly those involved in politically denouncing totalitarian regimes. Le Parc’s participation in the May 1968 Paris uprising and union rallies led to his expulsion from France for a period of a year. Upon his return to Paris, Le Parc became an important conduit between activist Latin American artists and the Paris art scene, most specifically through the Paris publication ROBHO, for which he covered the events of Tucumán Arde in Argentina. Le Parc’s works have been the subject of numerous solo shows in Europe and Latin America, including Instituto di Tella (Buenos Aires), the Museo de Arte Moderno (Caracas), Palacio de Bellas Artes (Mexico), Casa de las Americas (Havana), Moderna Museet (Stockholm), Daros (Zürich), Städtische Kunsthalle (Düsseldorf) and more recently at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris.
About the Curator
Estrellita B. Brodsky, Ph.D., is an independent Curator and scholar. She received her Ph.D. in Art History from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University (2009), and completed her dissertation, Latin American Artists in Post-World War II Paris: Jesús Soto and Julio Le Parc, for which she received the Award for Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation in the Field of Latin American visual culture from the Association of Latin American Art. Brodsky has worked with and written on Julio Le Parc beginning in the early 2000s when she began research for her dissertation. In 2012, she curated the exhibition on Venezuelan kinetic artist, Jesús Soto: Paris and Beyond, 1950-1970 at New York University Grey Gallery and in 2008 Carlos Cruz-Diez: (In)formed by Color at the Americas Society in New York, the first United States retrospective exhibition of the artist Cruz-Diez. Brodsky has taught on Post War Latin American Artists at Hunter College. More recently she curated a solo exhibition on Le Parc in Sao Paolo Brazil, Una búsqueda permanente: Julio Le Parc. and a group exhibition, Bearing Witness: Art and Resistance in Cold War Latin America at John Jay College for Criminal Justice.
About Pérez Art Museum Miami
Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) promotes artistic expression and the exchange of ideas, advancing public knowledge and appreciation of art, architecture and design, and reflecting the diverse community of its pivotal geographic location at the crossroads of the Americas. A 32-year-old South Florida institution formerly known as Miami Art Museum (MAM), Pérez Art Museum Miami opened a new building, designed by world-renowned architects Herzog & de Meuron, in Downtown Miami’s Museum Park on December 4, 2013. The facility is a state-of-the-art model for sustainable museum design and progressive programming and features 200,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor program space with flexible galleries; shaded outdoor verandas; a waterfront restaurant and bar; a museum shop; and an education center with a library, media lab and classroom spaces. For more information, please visit www.pamm.org, find us on Facebook (facebook.com/perezartmuseummiami), or follow us on Twitter (@pamm).
Accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) is sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture. Support is provided by the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners. Additional support is provided by the City of Miami and the Miami OMNI Community Redevelopment Agency (OMNI CRA). Pérez Art Museum Miami is an accessible facility. All contents ©Pérez Art Museum Miami. All rights reserved.